Why EPCOT and Animal Kingdom Are Such Important Disney Theme Parks

When I think of Disney World, I admittedly picture Cinderella Castle, the iconic landmark at the heard of Magic Kingdom. Disney World, however, is so much more than the castle and fantasy that Magic Kingdom provides. EPCOT and Animal Kingdom are two of the most important Disney theme parks, arguably across the world. Why you ask? Let me explain.

If you have never visited Disney World, it’s important to explain what makes these two parks unique. EPCOT houses the World Showcase, a section of the park filled with 11 different Country “pavilions.” These countries include Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France, UK, and Canada. Each of these countries is modeled to resemble the country itself, houses unique dining and experiences in line with the country, and introduces cast members who are native to the countries to interact with the guests. Having 11 different countries to explore in a day is an important interaction that shouldn’t be dismissed. Allowing guests to fully immerse in the different cultures of these countries provide a well rounded, education experience that would lack in that area with another theme park.

Travel west of EPCOT and you will hit Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the newest of the four Disney World theme parks. Similar to EPCOT’s World Showcase, Animal Kingdom is split up into individual lands to immerse the guests in a unique experience. Here, guests can visit the Africa area and the Asia area. Like EPCOT, these two sections of the park truly involve the guests in the culture of these continents and are home to cast members from these locations. The music, entertainment, food, and overall style of these two sections of the park truly make guests feel as if they are a part of the culture.

The importance of these two parks really can’t go unnoticed or underappreciated. While this experience is important for kids and adults alike, families are especially lucky for this experience within the parks. A family with kids is unlikely to have the financial ability to visit the various countries represented, and I imagine overseas trips with kids to a brand new country comes with a handful of difficulties. But in Disney World, any child can get the chance to experience new cultures and then meet Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse in the same day. Sprinkling in the chance to learn about other countries and experience them within Disney World is a great way to keep kids attention and promote learning in a fun, friendly, exciting environment.

I know that there is no comparison to traveling the world. The France Pavilion in EPCOT cannot compare to taking a trip to France and visiting the landmarks, speaking with the people, and learning about the history. But, for those of us who simply cannot afford to visit a different country each year, the importance of the Disney World parks including a world traveling type of experience is one that truly makes EPCOT and Animal Kingdom two of the most important and special Disney parks.

My Top 5 Disney World Rides for Grown Ups

**Follow my blog if you’re loving these Disney World topics! I’d love to have you along for the journey, and to cater even more to what all of my fellow Disney World fans want to hear about. I look forward to your input!**

This blog is going to be exclusively about your standard “grown up” rides in Disney World. As you may know from previous blogs of mine, I really don’t believe that any rides are exclusively from grown ups nor do I believe that any rides are exclusively for kids (unless height restrictions come into play.) However, there are rides that are “typically” more popular amongst older crowds. Below, I’m going to run through my top 5 “Disney World Rides for Grown Ups.”

5. Dinosaur

Dinosaur is not for the faint of heart. Every aspect of this ride makes it a great “grow up” ride. It’s absolutely pitch black once you enter the dinosaur age. You can’t see where you’re going and you can’t see where you’ve been. There is always something about not being able to see what’s going to happen next that makes a ride a little bit more thrilling. You are also driving through the time where dinosaurs ruled the world. From personal experience, I can tell you that I was absolutely TERRIFIED of this ride when I was a kid. Now, that’s coming from a kid who was afraid to cross a bridge over water in a thunderstorm because I though I was going to die of electrocution, but that’s a story for another time. The dinosaur animatronics are about 50x less scary when you grow up. Heck, I was smiling at the dinosaur in one of the photo pass pictures on dinosaur on my last trip. Lastly, not only are you moving on a track, but your jeep is jerking you around. Multiple forms of movement on a ride definitely increases the thrill-o-meter. If you add all of this up, this is a great #5 grown-up ride.

4. Expedition Everest

I don’t want to pretend with you guys. The first time I ever rode Expedition Everest I was about 11 years old. The roller coaster aspect? Piece of cake! I had a blast. The “yeti gets in my face and I think I’m going to get my head eaten off” part? Yeah, 11 year-old me was less a fan of that. Nowadays, I’m trying to shake his hand. Honestly, he’s a legend. I would be HONORED to shake his hand. And the roller coster track is a really great one. As someone who hadn’t ridden the ride in years, it was easy to forget how steep and fast that big drop out of the mountain was. That drop alone qualifies this ride as one hell of a grown-up ride if you ask me.

3. Tower of Terror

This ride makes it on my list for so many reasons. You have a thrill, you have a creep theme. You have a show that most kids probably know nothing about. Mix those three things up in a bowl and you have my #3 grown-up ride. There is always something about “creepy” themed rides in Disney World that automatically qualify it as a grown-up ride. Even for the kids who LOVE it, most of them probably walked through the queue line a little bit worried their very first time. This is also a high intensity thrill ride. I mean, you’re being pulled up and down and elevatory shaft at high speeds. And the theming of the ride is “Twilight Zone.” I don’t want to act like I’m some aficionado on “Twilight Zone,” but at least I know what it is! There’s probably a lot of younger kids who get to the pre show and have to turn and ask “what’s the Twilight Zone?” That, in itself, qualifies this to be a grown-up ride.

2. Flight of Passage

Flight of Passage is an incredible ride. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about it except that eventually I had to get off of it, and that made me sad. I know that any kid who is tall enough is waiting in line and riding this ride with their family. If this ride were themed any other way, it would not make this list. The fact that this ride is themed based on the movie “Avatar” is the exact reason it made it. Avatar was an INCREDIBLE movie. And, unfortunately, a lot of kids probably haven’t seen it. It’s a really long movie. But it happened to come out in theaters in the prime of my life. I was 14 years old and going to movies was the cool thing to do on the weekend Avatar was hyped BIG TIME, so I went to see it in theaters. I have seen it a handful of times since then, and I can honestly say my experience on Flight of Passage was shaped by the fact that I knew and understood the story of Avatar. I can’t imagine that 7+ year-olds are going out of their way to watch Avatar before riding flight of passage. Do you have to? Of course not! But, the fact that many people my age and older had the chance to watch the movie before experiencing Flight of Passage really helped me bump it to my #2 grown-up ride.

  1. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

I’m sure you knew this was coming. There was no way Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was going to be left off this list. To be honest, I didn’t really know this was my #1 choice until I started writing this blog. Everything together makes this my absolute FAVORITE grown-up ride. Fast start, upside down, darkness, and a soundtrack of Aerosmith. This is one of the most, if not the most, intense thrills in all of Disney World. It’s the only roller coaster in Disney World to go upside down, and it is one of the fastest rides on property. And if that’s not enough to qualify as a grown-up ride, you get the sound of Aerosmith in your ears. Similar to my thought on F.O.P I think it’s so important that I know and enjoy a lot of Aerosmith music. This ride is cool no matter if you know the music or not. But, being able to sing along and enjoy some music you love and have listened to since you were a young kid is an awesome addition to an awesome ride.

Disney World has done a lot to make a name for itself and ensure that it is not a theme park full of rides for little kids only. Upping the speed, thrill, and theming of rides has really lead to a lot of options for adults to enjoy. Disney World has a way with making people of all ages enjoy their parks, and these 5 rides are a big reason why.

Disney World: The Young, Instagram Lovers Dream Land

Imagine picturesque mountains, animals grazing the savanna, and visiting a vibrant new planet. Now, imagine that you can do all of those things in the span of about an hour. That’s right. I’m talking about Animal Kingdom, folks. But, really, I’m talking about all 4 Disney World parks. Disney World is a young, Instagram junkie’s dream. Imagine all of the photos you can take when you travel into a completely unique themed land every 15 minutes. Over the course of one Disney World trip you can visit different countries, different themed areas, and futuristic worlds. The future Instagram posts you can get from that? Worth every penny!

In all seriousness, I know that no young adult would spend the money on a trip to Disney World exclusively for the “‘gram.” But, I also know that we all like to feel like we can be somewhat “artsy” and post something that our followers will really love. Getting to express some artistic freedom in a modern, social media form is something that a lot of people like me have come to love. Snap a picture with an interesting item in the forefront in front of a cool background. The main object will be the focus, but the blur of Cinderella Castle or Hollywood Tower Hotel in the background makes for a cool and interesting shot. Take a pause when you see an object, building, or park landmark from a unique and scenic location and snap a quick picture. While it may seem cheesy at the time, it sure won’t when you’re inevitably posting some pictures from your trip and scrolling through to find the best ones.

On that note, feel free to give my Instagram a follow! I would love to share my images with you all and give you new ideas for your next Disney World trip! I want to share my tips and tricks on Instagram photos, editing, and how to make yours pop, so let me know any questions you may have! (You can find me at @all.about.the.ears)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is all in the name. At this theme park, we get to explore the wonders animals from all walks of life. Here, there are 6 unique lands to visit during your trip; Africa, Asia, Dinoland U.S.A, Pandora, Discovery Island, and The Oasis. Each of these lands boasts its own unique attractions, dining, entertainment, and sights to see.

Animal Kingdom is the largest of the 4 Disney World theme parks. When there’s a full size Savannah inside a theme park, that can happen! There’s just so much to do at Animal Kingdom. If you’re into thrill rides, take your turn at Expedition Everest or Dinosaur. The newest thrill attraction is Avatar: Flight of Passage in Pandora. I had the joy of taking my first ever ride on Flight of Passage recently in Animal Kingdom. When I say that it is one of the best rides I have ever been on in my life, I really mean it. There is nothing I have ridden before that is quite like it. If you ever get a chance to visit Disney World, put Flight of Passage on the top of your “Disney World Bucket List.” I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.

Trust me when I say that eventually (inevitably) your feet will hurt when you take laps around this huge theme park. When that time comes, take a trip on Kilimanjaro Safari. You’ll get up close and personal with all of the animals on this safari tour. Dinoland U.S.A is also a great area to find rides and activities to really express that inner “kid at heart”. In Disney World, there is no shame in acting like you’re a kid again.

My very favorite ride at Animal Kingdom is best fit for those of you who aren’t afraid to get wet. Kali River Rapids is a great time on a hot day (or even on a mild day for those of us from cold climates!) River rapids are always a good time, and it constantly keeps you on your toes as you wait who ends up being the ones to get absolutely SOAKED. For me, Kali River Rapids is a nostalgic ride. I can vividly remember heading to Animal Kingdom for Extra Magic Hours as a kid with my cousins. It was about 10:55 PM with an 11:00 PM closing time. That’s not going to stop us! Me and my cousins hopped in our raft, poncho-less, and had the best time. Sadly, Kali River Rapids was closed for this most recent trip. But, that just means I HAVE to go back, right? 😉

This doesn’t even touch the surface of all that there is to do at Animal Kingdom. But, these are just overview blogs! As time goes on, I plan to delve deeper and deeper into each park and all of the amazing theming, attractions, potential expansions, and much more. If you’re interested at all in more of my Disney World blogs, go ahead and follow me! I absolutely love talking Disney World, and I look forward to giving my followers great content.

Disney World Overview

For the young adult Disney World fan, it’s important to have a solid background on all things Disney World before you plan your trip(s). I want to take you through a general overview of the Disney World Property in Orlando, Florida. Actually, we can start right there! Disney World is actually located in two unique cities that are exclusive to the Disney World property. Disney World is located in Bay Lake, Florida and Lake Buena Vista, Florida. However, for all intents and purposes, Disney World is located just outside of Orlando. The Disney World Property is massive. It is made up of 4 theme parks, 25 hotels, 2 water parks, and it’s own shopping and dining center. Throughout all of this, you will also find scattered locations with various recreation activities including golf, mini golf, boating, and much more. Disney World in Florida is so much more than “just another” theme park.

That being said, the theme parks are obviously a huge draw in Disney World. The 4 theme parks on the Disney World Property are Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and, of course, Magic Kingdom. These 4 parks include a wide variety of thrill rides, exciting entertainment, food and drink options, and much more. There is something for every young adult at each of the 4 Disney World theme parks.